If you’re stuck for a specific present idea for someone then subscription boxes are a great solution. It’s a gift that keeps on giving (for a specified time at least). Plus in the current economic climate it provides a way to support small, independent businesses.
Here’s a round-up of subscription boxes that make great Christmas presents for all members of the family.
Mandira’s Kitchen – Indian food subscription boxes
Mandira’s Kitchen provides high-end, award winning (Surrey Life Food & Drink and Great Taste) Indian freezer meals.
The family recipes contain no additives or preservatives and provide plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options. Mandira’s Kitchen offers more familiar dishes such as masala (chana), biryani and samosas but also lesser-known ones including dhania murgh, chicken xacuti and meen moilee.
I was worried that freezer meals would lose quality. However, that wasn’t the case and everything tasted freshly made. The vegetable samosas were perfectly crisp and flaky, and full of flavour as was the palak dal. The chicken biryiani was, without doubt, the best I’ve ever tasted. I’m a massive fan of paneer and this palak (spinach) version was delicious. The cheese was beautifully tender and the spinach, ginger and garlic liquor had fantastic depth making the dish incredibly moreish. The kaja dhania murgh (chicken in a cashew, coriander and coconut sauce) is something I’ve never had before. It was outstanding.
I also sampled the delectable gelatos. Fig & Almond was my favourite and the Mango & Cardamon was my husband’s. I couldn’t leave the spiced Indian crackers alone and polished off the lot on their own!
Subscriptions are very flexible. The recipient can choose the same or different meals every month, pause the subscription or even exchange for a weekend thali or cookery lesson at any time.
A self-selected six dish (each dish being two portions) box is £55 per month. This comes with a free box of vegetable samosas and a mini chutney. The eight-dish option is £65 a month and also comes with a free box of vegetable samosas and a mini chutney. Finally, the 10-dish box is £75 and includes a free box of vegetable samosas, naan bread and mini chutney.
Popupblooms – flower subscription boxes
Flowers in the house immediately lift my spirits so these are wonderful. I received two different subscription products from Popupblooms: a ready-made, hand-tied bouquet and a box (bucket also available) of flowers to arrange myself. They both consisted of beautiful, high quality autumnal blooms and foliage and arrived in pristine condition via courier.
The hand-tied bouquet was pretty much ready to pop straight into a vase and looked lovely. It comes with a letter detailing how to care for and get the most out of the bouquet.
It’s not something I’ve done before, but I really enjoyed arranging the box of flowers using the well-explained hints and tips provided (see my efforts below). Also included was a ‘menu of stems’ listing exactly what was in the box. This was a lovely touch.
Popupblooms offers a number of options. There’s a ‘taster’ (one off), three-month and six-month plan for both the bucket/box of flowers and the hand-tied bouquet. These can be paused at any time.
Prices start from £50.00 per month.
Craftiosity – adult crafting subscription boxes
Craftiosity are award-winning subscription boxes of modern, limited edition craft kits. The crafts range anywhere from macrame and ceramics to cyanotype and bookbinding. The one I received was to make a parquet clock.
The boxes contain all the tools, materials and instructions you need so you can dive straight in. There’s also access to online tutorials, but the step-by-step photo instructions were so clear I didn’t need them.
Crafting (when not with the kids) is not my normal thing. Most evenings – when the children are in bed – I’m more likely to be glued to one screen or another so this made a very pleasant change. I really enjoyed it and found it extremely relaxing especially coupled with a glass of wine!
I know it’s not perfect but I was actually pretty impressed with my final product. My eldest liked it so much she’s now got it in her room.
Subscriptions are £24.95 per month (with free UK postage) and you can gift a one, three, six or 12 month subscription.
Use Craftiosity discount code PARENTSOCIAL10 for 10% off the first craft kit.
The London Sock Company – men’s sock subscription boxes
Socks might be a Christmas cliché, but my husband (and brother) is a huge fan and particularly loves putting on brand new ones. I took out a six-month subscription as a Christmas present.
You buy the Sock Club Subscription gift card, which comes in a nicely presented box complete with details of the subscription. The recipient activates their own subscription where they can select their size and choose whether to receive specific styles or be surprised each month.
You can choose to gift one or two pairs of socks per month with the minimum term for subscription being three months. One pair a month for three months comes in at £42 and two pairs for the same period is £75.
The company is also making great strides in becoming a more responsible and sustainable brand. The socks truly are a quality product and very attractively packaged. My husband loved his monthly delivery.
You can currently get a 10% off discount code for your first The London Sock Company purchase.
Mysteries in Time – children’s history subscription boxes
Aimed at children aged 7-11, each Mysteries in Time box contains the ingredients to take children on an immersive journey through different periods in history. These include: Ancient Egypt (the first box), Elizabethan Era, Evacuees in WW2, Ancient Greece, Wild West, Aztecs, Ancient Rome, Victorians, Vikings, Ancient China, Space history and Stuarts.
The classic box is £6.95 per month plus postage and includes:
- Mystery/adventure story
- Glossy history magazine full of interesting facts, puzzles and activities (including colouring sheets)
- Egyptian bookmark Hieroglyph chart
- Themed sticker sheet
- Timeline sticker
- Lovely, large world map with timeline (this comes in the first box)
The bumper box (£13.95 plus postage) contains all of the above plus a hands on activity inspired by history and a history-related gift. Subscriptions can be cancelled at any time.
My children really enjoyed all of the different components and I thought it was very good quality. Read our full review here.
Use discount code PS10 to get 10% off any three, six or 12-month plan.
Noble House Prepared – gourmet frozen meal delivery service
Noble House Prepared is a brand-new venture from a team that’s been working in the fine food industry for over a decade. They offer a national delivery service, which provides award-winning, restaurant-style prepared meals all created by a chef with Gordon Ramsay pedigree.
I was sent a sample of spinach and ricotta cannelloni (with an arrabiata sauce) and beef bourguignon mains; two sides and desserts of chocolate fondant and passionfruit cheesecake. All the dishes are for two people and include tasting notes from the chef.
The beef bourguignon and accompaniments were first class and absolutely not what I was expecting from a frozen meal (in a good way!). The beef was beautifully succulent and packed with flavour and the mash was perfect. I wasn’t sure roasted carrots would translate well as a frozen dish, so was particularly surprised at how they’d retained such a great texture.
I’m half Italian and shun preprepared pasta dishes as they’re normally way too sloppy with far too much sauce, and overwhelmingly bland. This dish was so flavoursome and had the perfect level of sauce. The arrabiata gave a lovely little kick and balanced the creaminess of the dish perfectly.
Then it was the desserts… The passionfruit cheesecake was beautifully balanced with rich, buttery crumb, delicious cream and a tart jelly top layer. The fondants were a chocolate lover’s dream. We let the kids loose on these and they gave a huge thumbs up too.
Use Noble House Prepared discount code: WELCOME10 to get 10% off your first order.
Gift voucher: https://noblehouseprepared.com/collections/gifts/products/online-gift-voucher
More than Swim – eco-friendly, self-care pamper subscription boxes
Specialising in bespoke, handcrafted swimwear, More than Swim also boasts a range of self-care pamper subscription boxes.
There are three levels of luxury packages available ranging in price from £27.99 to £41.99. Each contains a bamboo face cloth, one luxury organic body product plus other items that change each month. All are sustainable and eco-friendly with packaging that’s completely recyclable. Founder Sandra donates a proportion of sales to Plastic Oceans UK and offsets the carbon footprint of deliveries by donating to charities based in the Amazon.
I received the £27.99 Freya box. This included:
- A patchouli rich cream for hands, face and body (75g)
- Matching patchouli soap for hair, face and body (75ml)
- A bamboo face cloth
- Detoxifying Himalayan Pink Salts
The body, hand and face cream is really versatile. I’ve been using it as a night and day face cream; it’s rich, but not heavy or greasy. I’m pretty sure some of my fine lines have faded whilst using it. It’s great on hands and body too.
The soap was a real all-rounder. It smells lovely and lathers up really nicely on hands and hair. It’s currently replacing my usual cleanser. It left a little residue on my hair, but made it feel and look thicker. My daughter said it immediately helped her dandruff.
More than Swim pamper boxes can be posted straight to the recipient with a gift note as a one-off order or as many months as you like.
I really enjoyed this roundup.
I especially love the Noble House concept!
I can imagine this idea will spread like wild fire in the food industry, especially with the change in the way we are living.
National delivery is just fantastic!
Darius (founder of boxtobox)